US President Donald Trump and Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud reaffirmed the “strong United States-Saudi defense partnership” in a Friday phone conversation.
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The conversation between the two leaders followed reports that the US was pulling two out of its four Patriot anti-missile batteries out of the Gulf kingdom.
US State Secretary Mike Pompeo confirmed the pullout Friday in an interview with Ben Shapiro, saying the redeployment was part of a “normal rotation” and was not indicative of a decline in US support for its Gulf ally.
Previously, the Wall Street Journal reported that the pullout was dictated by an assessment that Iran, the prime threat the Patriot batteries were supposed to be deterring, could no longer endanger US interests in the region.
Pompeo did not confirm this report and said that the pullout had nothing to do with the OPEC deal cutting oil output, with Trump earlier reported threatening Riyadh he would withdraw US troops out of the country if the cartel failed to slash production.
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